Time to Revamp and Expand: Early Childhood Teacher Preparation Programs in California's Institutions of Higher Education
This executive summary highlights the findings from an inventory of almost all of the California institutions of higher education that train adults to teach children under the age of five years, including certificate, associate, bachelor's, master's, and PhD programs. Findings show that in California, 136 institutions of higher education, or approximately one-half of the State's public colleges and universities, are engaged in preparing teachers to work with young children prior to kindergarten. About three-quarters of these programs are at the community college level, and opportunities for upper-division and graduate-level work in early childhood education (ECE) are very limited. The States higher education system is still geared mostly to entry-level work in the ECE field. California's population of early childhood students is very diverse in terms of ethnicity and language; many speak a language other than English. However, the faculty of California's early childhood teacher preparation programs is much less diverse than their students. Most of California's early childhood students are working full time. While most students go on to work with children (aged birth-five), those who earn bachelor's degrees are more likely to go on to elementary school teaching. The persistence of low wages in the early care and education field remains the greatest community-related challenge for California's early childhood teacher preparation programs. Recommendations are offered for colleges and universities, State policy, and public awareness. A description of the methods and a list of California Colleges and Universities offering early childhood teacher preparation programs are appended.